Competition for global deposits of phosphates, lithium and nickel
Norge Mining has discovered such large deposits of phosphates in southwest Norway that it is likely to meet the world’s demand for this raw material needed to produce batteries and solar panels for the next 100 years. The deposits contain up to 70 billion tons of phosphates and other strategic minerals, such as titanium and vanadium. Phosphates contain large amounts of phosphorus, a key ingredient in green technologies. The global economy uses around 50 million tonnes of phosphorus each year.
Ford Motor Company, General Motors Company and other auto companies are contracting with mining companies to bypass the intermediaries and avoid scarcity of raw materials that could thwart their ambitions to produce electric vehicles. Without lithium, American and European carmakers could not produce e-batteries. Western companies also have to compete with Chinese companies that, supported by the state, can take more risks in mining, cooperate with unstable or populist governments, and ignore environmental damage. The business destinations of industry representatives are, for example, Chile, Argentina, Quebec and Nevada.
Chinese companies have improved the refining process, allowing Indonesian nickel ore to produce batteries for electric vehicles. As a result, China took control of the world’s largest source of nickel and gained an advantage in the global race to secure that crucial mineral for the energy transition.